Not every kind of love is worth keeping around.
“You will be shocked when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever. That’s why when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.”Ted Mosby in How I Met Your Mother
Everyone has that show that they love. For some it’s Friends. However, for others it’s the Office (for reasons I still don’t understand). For me, it’s How I Met Your Mother. Ted Mosby tells his kids the long, long, super long story of how he met their mother. The show has incredible storytelling features and is set in New York City (my hometown), and to the joyful displays when it means to be friends and do life together.
As a third year college student, I’ve had time to reflect on growing up. I’ve just entered my 20’s. I’ve been out of middle school and high school long enough to realize I don’t associate with most of those people anymore. The thing about high school graduation is that it’s likely the last time you’ll be standing in a room full of people that you’ve known and grown up with. College graduation is huge and you won’t know as many people as you thought. Some of the speakers might be people you never even heard of. There’s something about that realization, when you go down memory lane and look at your yearbook.
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Time passes us by. Clearly, 10 months spent inside has passed us by.
It’s not a good thing to dwell upon. But we all come to it eventually. We wake up one day and suddenly the friend we used to talk to all the time is someone we haven’t talked to in years. Or the old colleague we used to know is in a brand new city living a new life. It could even be us – we wake up to a different life with different people. And we wonder how that all came to be.
Maybe that’s for the nostalgia in us. For those of us who reminisce and think of life backwards.
Maybe Ted is nostalgic. He’s telling his kids this story because he is remembering all the people who passed him by. Come to think of it, we never get a clear reason why he tells them this story. If only to reflect on meeting the love of his life.
So when we finally find someone worth keeping around, we go big or go home. I know that some people don’t like cliches. In Ted’s case, they work. First he steals a blue french horn to impress a girl. Next, he dresses up in the same Halloween costume to click with a past girl. Third, he obsessively tries to find a wedding guest to find a different girl. Finally, he creates a perfect 2 minute date to spend time with another girl. Ted has made some bold romantic gestures for love.
But that’s the thing – if you find something worth keeping, wouldn’t you go to great lengths to keep it around? And so it goes for love. The good things in life – friendship, joy, and peace. If anyone brings good into our lives in a way we need or just want, we’ve got to fight for it.
Ways to Fight For Keeping Them Around
// MAKE TIME //
We are so busy all the time. Even in a national pandemic. And there are reasons for that. No childcare. Searching for jobs while being in school. Filling our hours with binging Netflix so we don’t feel alone.
I’m not trying to attack you but we need to create space in our lives if we want to invite someone in. If you’re single, you want to make space for dating. If you’re looking for friends, you’re going to prioritize gathering with people (via Zoom or socially distanced). And if those people are already in your life, then you have to make them a priority. Make time to check in. Spend time together. You may not even need to do something together. But making sure to spend time in each other’s presence, being aware of one another – it’s a gesture that signals this person is worth my time. The right person deserves to know that you think they’re worth it.
// SEND GIFTS //
You don’t have to steal a blue french horn. But something small can be just as meaningful (Not to mention legal).
You can write them a letter. Make them a bracelet. Knit them a sweater. Write them a poem. Sing them a song. Or learn to play their favorite song. You can help them decorate their home. Or clean up a space they’re in often. You can Venmo them coffee. Or tea. You can send them chocolate.
Just because something is small doesn’t mean it’s not meaningful. It’s not the size of the gift that matters. It’s that you were thinking of them.
// TELL THEM HOW YOU FEEL //
One of the best things I love about HIMYM is that the characters are always analyzing what moments, romantic or not, mean through different theories and we, as the audience, get to watch it play out. Dating can be frustrating because it can involve major guesswork. Just this morning, I was listening to a podcast and the hosts just went into a deep dive about how emojis and exclamation marks are received differently by guys vs girls. It’s wild!
Don’t make the relationships in your life confusing. Do not allow someone to have to be guessing about where they stand with you. Be clear. Be intentional. Just say what you mean. No games.
That can mean telling your parents you love them. Telling your friends you miss them. Texting a significant other that you care for them. This could mean reaching back out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and telling them you just want to hear their voice.
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There’s power in words. Sometimes, it’s just nice to hear someone tell you how they feel about you.
I don’t think we’re all going to have a grand romantic, 9 seasons long story of how we met someone. Whether that’s platonic or not. But I do believe that we can fight for the people we want in our lives. The people we want might not always want us back. Some people have moved on, or have no margin for you in their life. And that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt, but that it’s okay. Because you did the hard work of doing something for someone worth keeping. It didn’t turn out like you think it should but you will have nothing to regret. Or maybe you do have someone in your life worth keeping and now they know. That’s a great feeling. To know that you mean as much to someone as they mean to you.
Thank you Ted Mosby for teaching us that love is worth fighting for.
Thanks for reading, friends!